First Ever Saturday Surprise!

Welcome to the first Saturday Surprise, a new feature on Filosofa’s Word.  My initial intent is to make this an every Saturday feature, but quite honestly, it may begin as an every-other-Saturday feature.  Not for lack of ideas – my readers gave me bunches of great ideas.  But next Saturday, I will be on a 4-5 day hiatus to visit my friend Herb, and that may mean this gets off to a slower start than I had hoped.

In addition to all the ideas you guys submitted, I came up with a few of my own, and today’s post is a combination of one of mine, and one of yours.  Mine is a “This Day In History” and yours, as suggested by JB of Mr. Militant Negro fame, is “Music”, including video clips.  So, let us see just what I can do with this, shall we?

On This Day in History, in the year 1939, The Wizard of Oz movie musical premiered in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.  Is there a person reading this post who has not seen The Wizard of Oz at least once?  Most of us have watched it numerous times.  The film, starring Judy Garland, was based on an American children’s novel written by author L. Frank Baum and illustrated by W. W. Denslow, first published on May 17, 1900.  The book was translated into at least 50 languages, although sometimes with modifications, such as the Indian editions where a horse replaced the Tin Woodsman.  Hmmmm …

Original book cover and title page

But lest you think it has been all smooth sailing for the wonderful wizard, the book has had its share of troubles:

  • In 1957, the director of Detroit’s libraries banned The Wonderful Wizard of Oz for having “no value” for children of his day, for supporting “negativism”, and for bringing children’s minds to a “cowardly level”. Say what???
  • In 1986, seven Fundamentalist Christian families in Tennessee opposed the novel’s inclusion in the public school syllabus and filed a lawsuit. They based their opposition to the novel on its depicting benevolent witches and promoting the belief that integral human attributes were “individually developed rather than God given”. One parent said, “I do not want my children seduced into godless supernaturalism”. Oh for Pete’s …

A few bits of movie trivia …

  • “Over the Rainbow” was nearly cut from the film; MGM felt that it made the Kansas sequence too long, as well as being too far over the heads of the children for whom it was intended. The studio also thought that it was degrading for Judy Garland to sing in a barnyard. A reprise of the song was cut: Dorothy sang it to remember Kansas while imprisoned in the Witch’s castle. Garland began to cry, along with the crew, because the song was so sad.
  • The Munchkins are portrayed by The Singer Midgets, named not for their musical abilities but for Leo Singer, their manager. The troupe came from Europe, many of them were Jewish and a number of them took advantage of the trip to stay in the US in order to escape the Nazis.
  • The Scarecrow face makeup that Ray Bolger wore consisted, in part, of a rubber prosthetic with a woven pattern to suggest burlap cloth. By the time the film was finished the prosthetic had left a pattern of lines on his face that took more than a year to vanish.
  • The horses in Emerald City palace were colored with Jell-O crystals. The relevant scenes had to be shot quickly, before the horses started to lick it off.

There is so much interesting trivia about this movie that I cannot cover even a tenth of it, but if you are interested in reading more, check out the IMDB site. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane, and I will be back next time with something totally different!  Have a great weekend, dear readers!

32 thoughts on “First Ever Saturday Surprise!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Yes, as I was just telling Jeannie, we used to watch it every year … I couldn’t remember, but thought it was played around the holidays. CATURDAY!!! Hooray … I shall have to go check it out! I tried the clicking my heels together, but it just isn’t the same in sneakers as in the magical red shoes! Have a great weekend!

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    • You’ve never seen the movie??? Wow … here it used to be played every year, I think around the holidays, and I think I’ve seen it at least 6-7 times. I had not actually read the book until homeschooling Natasha, and we read it together when she was probably about 9. She loved it!

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      • I am sure it was on TV here too, but somehow I never watched it when I was a kid, and now I am not such a big fan of musical type movies … Also I guess when I was a kid they would have been playing the German spoken version on TV – you know that in Germany/Austria, they always show dubbed versions on TV? Which is one of the reasons I guess that the average German/Austrian speaks so poor English with such a terrible accent. 😉 Although that is getting better now, I think. Anyway, since I have gotten used to watching the original versions, I cannot bear to look at the dubbed ones any more, as the voices and the lip movements don’t fit! (In the Netherlands they show the original versions with Dutch subtitles – which is better, but the subtitles sometimes drive me crazy too!)

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        • Well I learned something new today! Actually, I guess I never thought about it … I just read that it had been translated into 50 languages and assumed that meant most people, at least in the west, had seen it. I hope you get to see the original someday … I think you would enjoy it! 🙂

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  1. I loved the movie as a child. All the interesting facts were great…the poor straw man (my favourite) and his terrible face marks from the costume😱. Such dedication.

    And now, I said I’d try to do a limerick based on the theme, so here goes…😂

    Somewhere, over a rainbow,
    a tale of ‘Oz’ did flow,
    to teach us, no plight,
    will cause us to fight,
    or to hate anyone we don’t know. ❤

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      • I seem to have a knack for rhyming. I once did a very inspired and long rhyming soliloquy called ‘The Bargee’s Lament’ that was printed in an online canal newspaper. I wrote it in a Northern English dialect of the Industrial revolution. My sister thought it must have been by a famous poet, not me.😂

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        • That is awesome! My rhyming skills are sub-par, though on occasion I can come up with a few lines … I actually tried today to come up with something humorous and original for tomorrow’s ‘Jolly Monday’ post, but fell flat, so I settled for jokes instead. 🙂

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  2. Pingback: First Ever Saturday Surprise – The Militant Negro™

  3. Jill, fascinating stuff. I had not heard these tales. I was aware that Buddy Ebsen was the original Tin Man, but the make-up caused a severe allergic reaction. Cutting “Over the Rainbow,” would have been harmful as it was such a key part of the movie. I, too, have seen it dozens of times. Keith

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    • Thanks! Yes, there was so much interesting trivia that I wished I could have shared it all! I was particularly heartened that some of the ‘munchkins’ were able to stay here to avoid the Nazis! I had fun with this one, and have been singing “If I Only Had a Brain” all day today 🙂

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    • I’m glad you enjoyed it, dear David! I think I will enjoy these Surprise Saturdays! One more excuse to pop out of the rabbit hole for a bit. 🙂 Next weekend’s hiatus is still tentative, but I’ll let you know.
      xxx Cwtch Mawr xxx

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  4. Beautifully presented and revealing ; there is much to brood over here , and there are always those judgemental types who do not understand the importance of harmless fairytale nonsense. Julie’s life was a tough one and circumstances dragged her under far too soon. She struggled like us all to find enduring happiness and left us something magical in the effort. What appears to be nonsense often hides deep truths and commentary on human existence ‘ if I had a brain ‘ I could explain it all more eloquently.

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    • Thank you! I’m glad you liked this. Yes, there are a number of positive messages in this tale, which is why it floored me to read that some considered it sent negative messages. But, as you say, there will always be those who are judgmental and narrow-minded. Judy Garland’s life ended in tragedy, but she certainly left a legacy of movies and music. I remember the first time I saw the Wizard of Oz as a small child, and the flying monkeys were almost my undoing! Petrified, I was! 🙂

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